S

heva had once read that everyone’s favorite sound is the sound of their own name. Of course, it depended on who was calling your name. It was true that she loved hearing her baby sister or her mother or even Mrs. Winter call her by her name. But when a teacher said, “Sheva?” in that weighty, pointed way — that was definitely not a favorite. And when one of her sibs screamed “Shevaaaaaa!” while banging on the bedroom door — that was not so favorite either.

But right now, as she walked home, it was precisely who was calling her name that caused her to freeze in her tracks. She turned around, incredulous, but it was true — Leah and Fraida were running toward her.

“Sheva!” Leah called again. “Wait!”

Sheva waited until Leah and Fraida caught up with her. For a moment the three of them stood staring at each other.

“Hi,” Fraida finally said.

“Hi,” Leah said.

“Hi,” Sheva said. It came out in a croak, as if her voice was rusty from lack of use.

Fraida and Leah looked at each other. “Listen, Sheva,” Leah began, fumbling. “We want to talk to you…” She trailed off.

“I saw that you didn’t register for Shabbaton,” Fraida blurted.

Sheva flinched.

“What Fraida is trying to say,” Leah tried again, “is that we were thinking about everything…” She sounded helpless. “Okay, listen. Fraida told me you didn’t register for Shabbaton. And when I heard that, it sort of brought home to me how crazy this all is, everything that happened. It shouldn’t have happened. We shouldn’t have acted like this. And so we wanted to say… to say we’re sorry.” She stopped abruptly, as if exhausted by her little speech.

“And you don’t have to tell us anything,” Fraida continued. “We realized, you know, we’ve been friends for so long, and even though, you know, the beginning of the year was… complicated, ever since Adina moved in, still we shouldn’t have treated you like that. Just believing Adina, without even talking to you, and taking her side, and everything.”

Sheva said nothing.

“Sheva?” Leah asked anxiously.

“Yes?” It came out in a whisper.

“What… what should we say?”

Sheva shook her head. “Nothing,” she said, still whispering. “Nothing. It’s okay.”

“It is not okay,” Fraida said in a tone of disgust. “The way we acted was not at all okay.”

“Fine,” Sheva acknowledged, her eyes starting to brighten. “Maybe not okay. But over.”

Leah’s laugh was tinged with relief. Even Sheva smiled.

“Can we walk with you?”

“Sure.”

The conversation continued as bluntly as it had begun. “What’s up with Shabbaton?” Fraida asked.

Sheva sighed. “What’s the point in coming?”

Leah nodded. “But now you can come,” she asserted. “Right?”